Bear for breakfast, langur for lunch or tiger for tea? We certainly hope these are not on YOUR dinner plate, but sadly these endangered creatures can be found on some menus in Indochina.
Fortunately we have good news that this situation is changing thanks to the work of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and our Intrepid Foundation partners, TRAFFIC.
Choosing a restaurant in Vietnam’s capital city just got a little easier with the help of a tiny green chef. This cheery culinary figure is turning up on posters in eateries around Hanoi as the logo for WWF and TRAFFIC’s Green Restaurant Campaign to end illegal and/or unsustainable wildlife consumption.
Restaurants that are part of the campaign commit to protecting Vietnam’s threatened biodiversity by not serving wildlife products or species protected under Vietnamese law, such as bears, tigers, and cobras. Since the launch of the campaign on 01 October, over 150 restaurants, from inexpensive street stalls to luxurious western restaurants, have taken the pledge.
Restaurants that sign the commitment are added to a list of approved ‘Green Restaurants’ that is being circulated by the media and responsible travel agencies. The goal is to support restaurants dedicated to protecting wildlife and provide incentive for others to take the pledge. Intrepid Travel has committed to supporting the campaign by encouraging more restaurants to sign on.
The Green Restaurant Campaign is a component of the ‘A Matter of Attitude’ project run by WWF Vietnam and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network. This project seeks to raise awareness and change attitudes towards the consumption of wildlife and wildlife products that is plaguing Vietnam.
A TRAFFIC survey found that the consumption of wildlife for food, souvenirs and medicine has become increasingly popular in Hanoi, especially as income levels rise and residents can afford luxury wildlife items, and also amongst some tourists. Such consumption is having an alarming effect on wild populations of plants and animals. Illegal hunting and trade of protected species in Vietnam has pushed many, including the Javan Rhinoceros, Asian Elephant and Indochinese Tiger, to the brink of local extinction.
Efforts like the Green Restaurant Campaign demonstrate that Vietnam is making progress in the battle against illegal wildlife trade, but there is still a long way to go to ensure the preservation of biodiversity. Local residents and foreign visitors alike are encouraged to support the campaign by choosing ‘Green’ restaurants. In addition, restaurant-goers can report the sale of illegal wildlife products through the Wildlife Trade Hotline, operating 24 hours a day at 1-800-1522.
For more information on the campaign, to view the complete list of participating restaurants, or to learn about commonly traded species threatened with extinction in Vietnam, please visit the Green Restaurant Campaign website.